On Monday, Google’s Gmail service and Facebook both experienced short outages, but the two events were unrelated. Google said its outage was caused by a misconfigured server, and Facebook blamed DNS problems for its downtime.
Search Engine Journal’s Mike Wheatley reported, “While Google’s outage early on Monday morning stole most of the headlines, with furious business people taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations, those hoping to make the most of the downtime by doing a little ‘social surfing’ during office hours may have been sorely disappointed. Just hours after Google’s blackout, Facebook suffered a similar outage that meant large numbers of users were left facing the daunting prospect of having to eat their dinner or actually go somewhere without being able to share pictures of it with their friends.”
Mashable ran a statement from Facebook about the outage, which said, “Earlier today we made a change to our DNS infrastructure and that change resulted in some people being temporarily unable to reach the site. We detected and resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 percent. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Claire Cain Miller and Jenna Wortham with The New York Times noted, “Google’s e-mail service was inaccessible for many users on Monday morning, for both personal and business accounts. Google said it was a global service disruption. Chrome, Google’s browser, was reported to be crashing frequently in some instances. Google reported on its site that the problem had been resolved by afternoon. But the cutoff highlights the downside of relying on information stored only in the cloud of the Internet, particularly for businesses that pay to use Google Apps, including Gmail, Docs for word processing and Drive for file storage.”
WindowsITPro’s Paul Thurrott explained the cause of the Gmail problem, observing, “Google engineer Tim Steele offered a more definitive explanation, noting that it was a ‘server-side problem.’ He wrote in a Google support forum that the issue was with a service called Chrome Sync Server, which had been misconfigured with ‘a faulty load-balancing configuration change … That change was to a core piece of infrastructure that many services at Google depend on. This means other services might have been affected at the same time.’ That’s right. It was just human error.”